BioCongresswoman Slaughter is also a member of House Democratic Leadership and serves on the prestigious Democratic Steering & Policy Committee, which helps determine committee assignments. She is also the Democratic Chair of two congressional caucuses- the Congressional Arts Caucus and the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus, of which she was a founding member.
Rep. Slaughter is beginning her thirteenth term in Congress as U.S. Representative for the 28th Congressional District of New York State. Her diverse district includes the cities of Rochester – where she lives – as well as Buffalo and Niagara Falls. Through her tireless work on behalf of the district, her constituents know her as a fighter for increased economic development across Western New York.
Over the years, Rep. Slaughter has earned a reputation for her dedication to constituent service while simultaneously being a strong progressive voice on a host of national issues, from the war in Afghanistan and global trade to government reform and genetics.
As the only microbiologist in Congress - with a master's degree in public health - Rep. Slaughter played a leading role in negotiating the health care reform legislation that was signed into law in 2010. She participated in nearly all the high-level conversations and attended the summit held by the President at the White House as the final bill was shaped. Rep. Slaughter consistently fought to make sure the bill was fully paid for and would not contribute to the deficit.
Rep. Slaughter has received broad support for her authorship of a bill that would preserve seven types of antibiotics from overuse by farm livestock. The PAMTA bill would prohibit farmers from excessively using these medications in the daily diet of cows, pigs and chickens. Her work on this bill has gained momentum in recent years, with a range of newspapers and advocacy groups around the country endorsing her efforts and agreeing with the science behind the legislation.
Rep. Slaughter is also considered the leading expert in Congress on genetics issues and her cutting-edge legislation to protect Americans from discrimination by health insurance providers and employers based on genetic makeup is now law. Rep. Slaughter's Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) passed the House and the Senate and was signed into law by President Bush in May 2008. The bill has been called "the first civil rights legislation for the 21st century." In 1997, Rep. Slaughter was awarded the American Public Health Association Distinguished Public Health Legislator Award for her work on health and genetics issues.
Rep. Slaughter's fight to secure funding for local projects was recognized by the Rochester Institute of Technology, when it named its Center for Integrated Manufacturing Studies facility, "The Louise M. Slaughter Building." Rep. Slaughter authored the Niagara Falls Heritage Act which passed in Congress by overwhelming majorities and was signed into law by President Bush. This law will help heighten national appreciation for the region, preserve its natural and historic resources, and expand the local economy. Rep. Slaughter has secured over $25 million for the development of the Rochester Harbor, in addition to millions of dollars for other economic development projects. In Buffalo and Niagara, she has brought in millions of dollars for community development projects at the Burchfield-Penney Art Center, Hauptman-Woodward Institute, CUBRC, Inc., the Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, the Niagara Falls International Airport, Olcott Harbor, and the Village of Lyndonville in Orleans County, to name just a few.
As one of the leading advocates in Congress for women's rights, Rep. Slaughter is consistently engaged in legislation and advocacy on both a local and national level. She previously served as co-chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues in the 108th Congress, and continues to serve as co-chair of the Bipartisan Congressional Pro-Choice Caucus.
Along with Vice President Joe Biden and others Slaughter co-authored the historic Violence Against Women Act in 1994 and wrote legislation to make permanent the Department of Justice's Violence Against Women Office. She is leading the fight against sexual assault in the military, and organized a hearing on the issue in March 2004 that garnered national attention. Rep. Slaughter authored an amendment to the Department of Defense Authorization bill in FY05 to require the Pentagon to put in place comprehensive policies and procedures to deal with sexual assault in the military. In November 2004, she introduced landmark legislation to make further changes to end sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking in the military. She has continued to reintroduce this bill each Congress.
Rep. Slaughter, who was first elected to Congress in 1986, holds a Bachelor of Science degree (1951) in Microbiology and a Master of Science degree (1953) in Public Health from the University of Kentucky. Prior to entering Congress, she served in the New York State Assembly (1982-86) and the Monroe County (N.Y.) Legislature (1976-79); and as regional coordinator to then-Secretary of State Mario Cuomo (1976-78) and to then-Lt. Gov. Mario Cuomo (1979-82).
A native of Harlan County, Kentucky, Congresswoman Slaughter has lived most of her life in Rochester's suburb of Fairport. She is married to Robert Slaughter and has three daughters and seven grandchildren.